Of all the voices that have spoken, on and off the record, about the controversial conservatorship of Britney Spears—from lawyers on both side of the arrangement, to the fans who’ve organized the long-running #FreeBritney movement, to the outside observers like the creators of docuseries Framing Britney Spears—one voice has been consistently absent in recent years: That of Spears herself. For the last few years (and especially since the January 2019 shutdown of her second planned Las Vegas residency), Spears has communicated to the world almost exclusively through filters both literal and legal, whether in the form of statements from her lawyers, or through often-bizarre Instagram videos focused largely on dancing and pictures of refrigerators.
Today, then, marked a major moment in the “Is Britney okay?” discussion, with Spears herself stepping into open court to declare, once and for all: No, she’s pretty not okay. “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I’m happy,” Spears said in a pre-written speech, delivered (per The Hollywood Reporter) to the judge overseeing her conservatorship. “If I said that enough, maybe I’d become happy. … I’m in shock. I’m traumatized. … I’m so angry it’s insane.”
Pushing past calls for privacy from the lawyers of Jodi Montgomery—who handles the personal half of the conservatorship, a position Spears petitioned for her to permanently take over from father Jamie Spears earlier this year—Spears demanded that her statements be made public. “They’ve done a good job at exploiting my life,” Spears said. “So I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen to what I have to say.”
In terms of direct allegations, Spears stated that, among other things, she was forced to go on tour in 2018, that she has little control over the medications she is required to take, and, despite her stated wish to have more children, she has been told she doesn’t have permission to go to a doctor to have her IUD removed. She also specifically cited her anger at her father—who maintains his position as co-conservator of her reported $60 million fortune, along with a trust company placed into an oversight position a few years back—stating that, “he loved the control he had over me, one hundred thousand percent.”
Lawyers for Jamie Spears pointed out—as they have before—that his daughter’s conservatorship is voluntary, and that she could petition to have it ended at any point over its 13-plus-year run. Spears’ lawyer, Samuel Ingham, declined to respond to that offer, although a New York Times piece that ran earlier this week revealed that Spears has been making moves to have the conservatorship ended for years. Today presumably marks another big step forward in that effort, with Spears publicly calling the arrangement “abusive” and stating that, “I don’t feel like I can live a full life” while it’s in place.